After working with the youth at Cornerstone for the last few months, I decided to do a short survey to see what their core beliefs were. I used similar questions that George Barna used in a youth research study several years ago (taken from the book by Josh McDowell, Beyond Belief to Convictions). I had already decided that we need to go deeper and go back and cover some of the basic of the faith. This survey definitely confirmed my feelings. The youth are an awesome group, but they lack a little “depth” in their knowledge of basic Bible doctrine and beliefs. They are committed to serving Christ and reaching out, and they are more than willing to go deeper.
So my challenge will be to start a series at the first of the year on the basics of the faith. To make it interesting, to make it challenging, and to teach it in a way that will apply to their lives and show the importance of what you believe. I remembered the graphic from Josh McDowell’s book that showed your ‘invisible’ belief and values influence and determine your ‘visible’ actions. I think at times youth ministry tends to focus on the ‘visible’ while neglecting the ‘invisible’. I am thinking about using the “Fresh Start” series from Simply Youth Ministry as a basis for my lessons. I do want to throw in quite a bit more on basic theology and doctrine as well. I want to challenge our youth to not only know what they should do, but understand why. I have listed the survey questions and their responses below.
FYI, these questions were given to our ‘core’ group of students ranging from 7th to 12th grade. Some of the questions can be confusing to them, but I do think that most teenagers should be able to answer these correctly if they are grounded in what they believe.
Question 1: Religious beliefs are very important in my life.
Question 2: I believe the Bible provides a clear and totally accurate description of moral truth.
Question 3: Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and all other people pray to the same God, even though they use different names for their god.
Question 4: There is no such thing as ‘absolute truth;’ two people could define ‘truth’ in conflicting ways and both still be correct.
Question 5: You can tell if something is morally/ethically right for you by whether or not it works in your life.
Question 6: After Jesus was crucified and died, he did not return to life physically. Agree:8%
Question 7: The Holy Spirit is a symbol of God’s presence or power but is not a living entity.
Question 8: The devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.